Alexa, Amazon’s voice-enabled personal assistant, could drive more than $10 billion in revenue in just a couple of years. In early January, Google said it had sold more than 6 million Google Home devices since mid-October. Assistant bots like Alexa and Hey Google are becoming an essential feature of modern life, and that offers an amazing opportunity for brands to connect with customers on a new platform.
Eager to embrace that opportunity, brands are rushing to put their content on voice search-driven platforms. Good for them — getting in on the ground floor with voice platforms makes a lot of sense, just as creating a commercial website made sense in 1995. But in their rush, too many companies are leaving their brand’s voice (and associated voice platform data) in the hands of a third-party bot.
That could be a catastrophic mistake. Imagine an internet where all websites are black and white, laid out in a single column and all sites use the same font. Nothing would stand out. None of the sites would reflect the look and feel of the brands they represent, so customers would get an inconsistent experience when interacting with brands on other platforms. It would be a disaster from a branding perspective, right?
Something like that happens when companies cobble together an application for voice-enabled personal assistants without creating and protecting a unique brand voice. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of giving assistant bots control of your brand voice, you can create your own on-brand, AI-enabled communication strategy with an app that is designed for cross-platform voice communication.
You don’t have to build voice software from the ground up to make it happen — there are API-enabled, data-driven dialogue solutions available now that let you talk to customers wherever they are — on the phone, on social media, in a chat window or in their homes via assistant bots. With the right approach, you can make sure these conversations are consistent and on-brand every time.
Leading retailers currently use this strategy to handle conversations with customers via assistant bots, providing answers to customer questions about product availability or delivery. Insurance companies are using voice to respond to questions about car rental benefits while customer cars are being repaired. Banks are using voice platforms to set up and change appointments with customers.
With the right voice solution and up-to-date information, you can make sure customer data is applied accurately to create connections with customers. And when you take control of your brand’s voice on AI assistant platforms, you’ll also be able to integrate data from voice transactions into your company’s CRM system. That will become increasingly important as more consumers conduct searches via voice.
Independent industry analyst Gartner predicts that 30 percent of browsing will be done without screens by 2020, as voice-first browsing through devices like phones and AI assistants gains ground on text-based searches. Can your company afford to lose track of that data — or allow it to be controlled by a third-party bot? By proactively taking control of your brand’s voice, you can maintain control of your data too.
As voice assistants handle more transactions between brands and customers, the risk to companies that entrust their brand voice to third-party bots becomes more pronounced. Brand value is diluted when the voice isn’t consistent across channels, and customer trust is weakened. The loss of data means brands can’t create complete and accurate customer profiles.
Future-focused company leaders understand the stakes, which is why they’re rushing to create a voice platform presence. Their eagerness to embrace the platforms makes sense. But it’s important to create a strategy that protects the brand’s integrity. If your company plans to converse with customers via their voice assistants, make sure you don’t let bots speak for you.